The secular body in the Dutch field of sexual health

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This chapter investigates the secular body in the Dutch field of sexual health, the setting where the author conducted 13 months of anthropological fieldwork. The chapter explores this body from two different angles. First, it investigates the discursive field in which this body is situated in and constituted by. How do people working for sexual health organisations think the body should look and behave? What kind of behaviour and bodily appearance is advocated by these organisations? Second, the chapter draws on autoethnography to explore this body by examining the author’s experiences as a sexuality educator. On which occasions did he perceive himself to be failing as a sex educator? What do these experiences tell about the body and the expectations people have regarding a sex educator? By combining these two approaches to the body, the chapter explores the embodied configurations implicitly articulated and discouraged in Dutch sexuality education classes. In conclusion, the chapter reflects on what these insights tell us about secularity and the bodies that it seeks to cultivate.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransforming Bodies and Religions Powers and Agencies in Europe
EditorsMariecke van den Berg, Lieke Schrijvers, Jelle Wiering, Anne-Marie Korte
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780367808754
ISBN (Print)9780367407285, 9780367559670
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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